BRIGHAM CITY — A change in the redevelopment area where the future campus of Utah State University will be built got a boost forward.
Most council and audience members’ heads were nodding “yes” during a recent public hearing on the establishment of a city taxing designation designed to boost USU’s plans to expand into Brigham City.
The first thing residents will see is the demolition of the old Kmart building on south Main Street and the construction, beginning in 2014, of a $15 million classroom and administration building.
The proposal is to change the redevelopment area, which was established in 1985 soon after the Indian School closed, to an updated community development area. A final decision is expected at the council’s next meeting Nov. 1.
The new community development area takes in the area surrounding the old Indian School. It has been expanded a bit to take in a few blocks west of Main Street and between Fishburn Drive and 700 South.
Community Development Director Paul Larsen said the change in designation will not affect property owners near the old Indian School site. Property owners will see changes “only to the extent that the USU campus gets built,” he said.
USU’s expansive plans for the new campus include a recreation center, a future research and development complex, an Aggie building, a multistory parking structure and plenty of open space.
Tom Lee, dean of USU’s Brigham City campus, told council members that USU will seek funding for the first building during the 2013 Utah Legislative session.
Demolition of the old Kmart building and adjacent strip mall will be finished as early as June. Lee said the university will retain a small building that will serve as a museum for the World War II-era Bushnell Hospital.
Once the Kmart building is leveled, the area will be landscaped. USU will “be cleaning it up and putting some of it to use,” Larsen said. Some of the plans discussed include an experimental orchard and soccer fields.
The $15 million building will house classrooms and administrative offices, as well as a large multipurpose room available for community events, Larsen said.
Lee acknowledged the community’s support for the USU branch since the university first started classes 17 years ago. This year, nearly 1,100 students are enrolled at the Brigham City campus.
“We’ve grown from a couple thousand square feet to 50,000 square feet,” he said.
The current USU campus is across U.S. Highway 89 from the planned new site.